A father and his teenage daughter have tragically died in a horror motorbike crash after a car doing a U-turn pulled out in front of their Harley Davidson.
Alan, 60, and Hannah Atherton were out on a joyride for his birthday on April 18 when they collided with a silver sedan on the Bruce Highway, south of Mackay, about 10.30am.
Mr Atherton died at the scene while Ms Atherton, who had been his pillion passenger, was flown to Townsville Hospital in a critical condition.
After spending 10 days fighting for her life, she passed away on Wednesday.
Tributes have begun pouring in online for the beloved teenager who has been remembered for her ‘beautiful soul’ and bright smile.
Heartbroken loved ones have revealed her legacy will continue as her organs are donated to help save the lives of others.
Hannah Atherton, 19, (pictured) has died after a horror crash on the Bruce Highway, in Central Queensland
The teenager and her father Alan Atherton, 60, (pictured together) collided with a car while out on a motorbike for his birthday. He died at the scene
Acting Inspector Anthony Cowan said the Athertons had been out with a group of riders on Easter Monday when tragedy struck.
He said initial investigations suggested a car travelling in the same direction stopped on the side of the road near McNeil Road at Koumala and did a U-turn in front of the motorbike.
‘I believe there was a group of motorcycles and (the car) has given way for most of the motorcycles and they’ve conducted a U-turn and not seen the last one, is what it appears,’ he said, the reports.
The 63-year-old female driver of the car was taken to Mackay Base Hospital with moderate injuries.
Her four passengers – a man, 40, woman,34, and two kids, aged five and seven – were not injured.
Devastated friend Shakira Bickley said Ms Atherton was so excited to visit her dad in Mackay for his birthday after moving away from the town five years ago.
A friend said Mr Atherton died ‘doing what he loved’. Pictured is his blue Harley Davidson
Police say initial investigations indicate the father and daughter collided with a car doing a U-turn on Bruce Highway at Koumala (pictured)
According to her social media profiles, Ms Atherton had recently relocated to Sydney and TheWebmasterStop was employed by marketing company Bua Group as a fund raiser for charities.
Ms Bickley said losing her ‘beautiful’ best friend was something she would never have to go through, recalled the precious final moments she spent with Ms Atherton hours before the tragedy.
‘On the Sunday night before everything happened, Hannah and I drove and got ice-cream,’ Ms Bickley wrote on Facebook.
‘We drove around Mackay looking over a city we once called home. We pulled up to mine and said our goodbyes and that we will see each other very soon as she was planning to come visit me in Gold Coast.
‘One last hug and one last “love you” as I closed the door.
‘As hard as it is, I’m glad this was our last conversation. I’m glad you got to hear how much I love you.’
Ms Bickley said she hoped her friend’s organs would go ‘to a soul just as beautiful as hers’ and it was a ‘true blessing’ being able to ‘say one last goodbye at the hospital’.
Friends have remembered the teenager as a ‘beautiful soul’ and have revealed her organs will be donated to save other lives
‘Getting to hold your hand and seeing you at peace is something I’ll appreciate forever,’ she continued.
‘May you and your dad ride into the beautiful sunset together.
‘Both loved each other so much and I couldn’t think of a better person you could be leaving this world with.’
Friend Mekenna Bowman said Ms Atherton was ‘one in a million with a smile that could’ve lit up the whole world’.
‘My heart is shattered,’ she said.
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‘You will be missed dearly, you put up a hell of a fight, a fight no one would ever go through. You made me proud no matter what you did and with every decision you made.
‘I miss your cheeky laugh that we all knew was you the second we heard it, I miss your sarcasm and most of all I miss your smile.’
Bua Group issued a statement on Instagram saying it was ‘difficult to comprehend’ the death of their beloved worker.
‘We Love You Hannah,’ it read.
Ms Atherton had recently moved to Sydney and was working as a fundraiser for marketing company Bua Group
‘Thank you for being such an important part of the Bua Family, you enriched us all with your enthusiasm, passion & resilience.
‘We are better for knowing you, but the world is a little less bright with your passing.’
Kirrilea Smyth, a friend of Mr Atherton, said he died doing what he loved.
‘Sending all the fighting strength to your beautiful daughter,’ she wrote.
‘You went out doing something you dearly loved, may you ride high in heaven.’
Police said initial reports indicated the impact of the collision caused the sedan to flip on its side, blocking the northbound lane, as members of the public rushed to render assistance.
Ms Atherton was airlifted to hospital in a rescue helicopter after suffering head injuries, while police closed the road in both directions to investigate the scene.
Pictured: A rescue helicopter at the scene of the crash, which airlifted Ms Atherton to hospital
The car’s driver sustained pelvic and shoulder injuries and was treated at Mackay Base Hospital, where her passengers were also taken as a precaution.
Forensic Crash Unit investigations continue and anyone with relevant dashcam footage from that area or information that could help is urged to contact police.
Inspector Cowan described the desolate stretch of highway as a ‘danger zone’ as it is notorious for accidents due to driver fatigue.
He said authorities would up patrols and improve signage after there has been three deaths in the area so far this year.
‘There’s a big fatigue zone there especially coming 10 hours north of Brisbane and there’s not much around,’ he said.
‘People don’t realise they’re tired until it is too late.’
The tragedy brings the death toll on the Bruce Highway near Koumala so far this year to four after a woman and man were killed in two separate crashes.
A 50-year-old man died north of Koumala in February after his car collided with a truck, while medical student Yi-Jing Zeng died in a similar crash just south of Sarina last month.
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